To call Skip Bayless a controversial figure in the sports media world would be a big understatement. His currency is inflammatory rhetoric. He knows exactly what buttons to push in order to infuriate half his audience and inspire passionate defense from the other. And no public figure dislikes Bayless more than the one and only Charles Barkley.
Barkley has never been shy about his open dislike for Bayless' method of driving discussion and engagement by engaging with the hot take industry. He most recently spoke about this on Draymond Green's podcast, when he said it was clear that Bayless "hated" both LeBron James and Aaron Rodgers based on his never-ending campaign to point out their respective flaws.
Bayless saw this and was apparently pushed over the edge. He decided to dedicate an hour of his time, published via the Skip Bayless Show , digging into their history. Here's the problem: according to Bayless, they have zero history. Bayless says he's never even had a conversation with Barkley. Yet for over 10 years now Barkley has bashed him publicly at every given opportunity and has even said he'd like to kill Bayless while on television.
For one hour, Bayless talked about Barkley and the threats he's made in the past towards the Undisputed host. Because I care about you, dear reader, I listened to the entire thing. Below you'll find time-stamped notes and pulled quotes from the relevant sections concerning Barkley v. Bayless. There are some gems. Enjoy.
6:55: Bayless on his working relationship with Barkley: "To my knowledge, I have never written or said a single word, anything negative, about Charles that would make him want to somehow reduce me to my DNA sample... There's no backstory here. There's no hidden agenda. I didn't somehow do him wrong in an interview situation, I didn't double-cross him. I don't know anything about anything that could have set off Charles as far as what I've said, written, or done."
10:30: Bayless spends some time making it abundantly clear that he is not running from Barkley. He isn't bothered by Barkley's comments, merely confused, and has invited the Hall of Famer to debate him on television several times stretching back to when he was still at ESPN. Barkley has never accepted. Then he called on Barkley to join him on the podcast.
"I challenge Charles again to join me on this platform. We can have a whole hour to go back and forth so I can better understand why he wants to kill me. And who knows? Maybe I can convince him I'm not worth killing."
Say what you will about Bayless, he's certainly a showman. Onward!
12:20: Bayless breaks down an imaginary physical battle between himself and Barkley and acknowledges that the TNT analyst could probably kill him with his bare hands.
14:38: Bayless reveals who in the household is most worried about Barkley's statements: his wife, Ernstein. Ernstein believes Barkley is a "sick individual" whose casual threats to Skip's life could inspire an unstable person to actually try and kill Bayless. A somewhat valid concern, as you'd know if you ever went into Bayless' Twitter mentions.
19:20-- Bayless comes to the conclusion that the only way Barkley could hate him for so long is if he religiously views Undisputed and thanks him for being a loyal viewer.
28:00-52:00: At this point Bayless spends 24 minutes "debunking" the idea that he hates LeBron or Rodgers. It's filled with the talking points we've seen and heard from Undisputed for years. Extremely impressive he can rattle on and on without getting bored of this. He touched upon everybody's favorite talking points: LeBron's free-throw struggles and lack of clutch gene, Rodgers' playoff record, the works.
52:40: Back to the good stuff. Bayless presents his theory about why Barkley hasn't been able to stop talking about Bayless for all these years, and it's a doozy.
"I suspect that, after a long time, Charles is just jealous of me. He watches me, most days if not every day, on TV. And the things I say piss him off because he wishes he had thought of that and that he could say that on TV. That's my two cents psychoanalyzing Charles Barkley, who I have never met. But, just deep down, I have this feeling that Charles is afraid to ever try to get to know me because he's afraid he just might like me."
Hoo, boy! A big-time conclusion after all that. Bayless wrapped up the podcast by challenging Barkley (again) to debate him and then shared the story of the one time they've interacted in person, at a Spudd Webb charity basketball game in 1989. Bayless was the celebrity head coach of Barkley's team. Barkley blew Bayless off pregame and then their team won the exhibition. That's it. According to Bayless, that is literally the only time they've ever interacted in real life.
And there you have it. A certified history of the Bayless-Barkley beef. From one side, anyway. We can only hope Barkley publishes an hour-long monologue on the same topic. Or takes up Bayless' offer. Either would be great content.